Spring nights, the nip of winter is still in the air and a song keeps me company under the nearly full moon
Spring nights, the nip of winter is still in the air and a song keeps me company under the nearly full moon
A day full of insights. One of the most important insights from today was that I realized the purpose of my life.
1.The purpose of my life is to gather new experiences.
2.New experiences. An infant seeing people play Holi for the first time must totally be tripping adults looking ridiculous behaving absurd.
3. Played Holi in the morning in JNU. I love JNU for the place it is. Bhaang served in the hostel mess during breakfast, the entire campus tripping and it being absolutely acceptable to run around tearing one’s own shirt and throwing it up on a tree.
4. This has been my favourite best day in Delhi so far.
5. When a visually challenged student walks through Jhelum lawns while Holi is being celebrated in JNU, what does he/she perceive and sense? But Kazi says that colour also has frequencies and sounds. He hummed me a quick ‘aahhh’ which was supposed to be the sound for a green colour and indeed, his tone resonated of green. They can sense auras and waves of colour.
6. Holi is a great festival, especially to celebrate with one’s family and close friends. I like the Lall family where I was at all day today. They have a wonderful way of being on Holi, together, each inviting their own friends, and sharing their own friends with each other. accepting each other.
This is an attempt at a poem about the day after something significant or insignificant.
Its as yet incomplete and am not even sure if is at all meant to be one single poem.
The day after
The day after the night
when the first raindrops fell
everyone saw that the drops had
placed themselves gingerly on tips of green leaves,
and on the edges of crisp blades of grass.
One had arranged itself on the spot on the car windshield
so that when they looked from the front
it made look like a brilliant luminous diamond
had etched itself on the crease of her smile.
The day after their examinations ended
the excited kids woke up far too early
although they had decided that they would sleep till noon.
They made plans about all the candies they would eat
all the games they would play and all the films they would watch.
But by eve they had split into factions of Iago and Othello
and thus began the trysts of adolesence that weren’t resolved
until they had children of their own.
The day after the road was fixed
everyone still walked as if the road was not fixed.
They drove around the ghosts of potholes
and stepped aside from non-existent pits.
The day after she first spent the night at his
she woke up forgetting this very fact
because she had dreamt very realistically
that the war had ended and that her dad
The day after she first spent the night at his
he stopped kissing her and it broke her heart
while his was seized by fear
because the day after
she first spent the night at his
he realized that he liked men.
The day after their friend died
they woke up raw with dry eyes
grieving at their inability to weep
for ther tears did no justice to their sadness.
The day after the war ended
the soldiers packed up their rifles
and retraced their tanks
but had forgotten to make the
Ivorian child forget how to use a gun.
So! On the 17th day of January, I decided to kick off with the Number 1 thing on my Bucket list for the year. I booked a ticket for the very next day, on the train to Bombay!
The 1.5 days I spent there were a crazy fest of amazing food, friends, family,barely any sleep, warmth and memories!
Its difficult to talk or write about Bombay simply because I am so aware of my bias to the city I call home, where I know I will always belong but probably would not want to go back to live in. Walking down familiar paths with old friends and breathing in the sea-breeze, it felt like the easiest and most natural thing to be there with those very people. It was so wonderful to be able to talk about things to a friend who knows you since you were 3 and someone who has seen you through all the masks and facades you put up until there were no more left, and knows you for real. and accepts, and embraces and loves. you. There was no need to give a context or explain a story, it all just came from the knowledge of growing up together, in the same little town where most people knew eachother, and lived as a community, with its small failings, and small victories.
I met exactly the people I would meet if I had a limited time in my hometown and the one person I would love to meet but hadn’t made a plan with, I bumped into her on the street although she doesn’t live there anymore either! I ate exactly all that I would have eaten and have been missing.
I had several realizations in the hours I spent there, some whilst sober and other not, which I would like to put down here.
1. Every person from Bombay is an AMAZING dancer of the street ghaati/Ganpati visarjan style. (Look at the little boy in purple going for it here to know what I mean!) I keep forgetting that in Delhi where I have no company for it!
2. Into the Wild should be the next book I add to my reading list. Heard Eddie Vader belting out Society in a room full of happy people and realized that I am someone who likes to live on teh edge or outside of society and thats the kind of people I end up making friends with. hmmm
3. I live intensely in the moment. In the night I spent in Lonavla, for most of the night, I din’t remember or think about a single thing outside of the exact minute I was in, There was no past, no future.
4. A thought about my current partner or the fact that I have one, passed my mind for the first time in the night at 1.30am. I wonder if thinking about someone you think/claim you love after a gap of four and a half hours is normal. How are people supposed to be in love if they are supposed to be any one way at all?!
5. I love Pav Bhaji, and it will always be my number one favourite dish.
I am glad this is how 2014 has started. I am feeling at peace and yet all the atoms that make me are going crazy bouncing off eachother. Thats what Bombay does to me. Its my medicine and my bane. I love it there.
Also just realized that I haven’t been doing much from the rest if my bucket list, oops! Signing off, here’s a song dedicated to Bombay and its warm showers. Bombay Rain, I think of you often.
Yesterday I noticed my lover’s shoulder.
Winter fogged the window behind the drapes, but a warmth created by the room heater(second-hand but in perfect condition)
and two loving bodies engulfed the room. Delicate yellow light from a bed-side shade threw shadows on us
and my eyes
and especially his shoulders.
After watching an episode of Sherlock(Season 3 episode 3 brilliant!) with him,
discussing, dissecting, and laughing about it, with him,
it was the only place I wanted to be in
and no Spy with a voice like Benedict Cumberbatch could have changed that.
In the process of writing this, I have just now google-searched the words ‘shoulder anatomy’
to understand and explain to you exactly
how beautiful did look my lover’s shoulders.
It was neither the most-muscular nor the most-toned shoulder I have seen,
nothing like Daniel Craig in his better days.
But a certain manner in which he held me in those moments,
shone three distinct lines of muscle and sinew in yellow shadows,
that whispered to me about love, care and affection,
and made me wonder at the universe that could make these shoulders possible.
“Ah Science! Ah Universe!”, thought I
and stretched out my arms barely tracing my fingers over them,
too afraid to alter the grace
that is held within the petals of my lover’s shoulders.
I din’t think until now that his shoulders are a different colour from my own.
While his shine like smooth ivory,
mine are more like wood, varying between shades of walnut and chestnut in parts.
But we are happy to push our shoulders together in the darkness of the cinema,
and brush them gently against one another,
unnoticed in the chatter and laughter of social gatherings.
(This specific shoulder of my lover has no moles,
unlike his back whose landscape is scattered with stars,
that are nice to kiss or to play join-the-dots.)
If I was O. Henry or Guy de Maupassant, I would tell you that those shoulders had no arms to end,
or if I was Sir Doyle or Oscar Wilde, my lover would be a spy, a prince or a frog.
But this is not a story and its no such romantic thing.
This is real life and my lover is real person.
with a human heart.
(and beautiful shoulders.)
Whenever I come back to blogging after a long break( which has happened several times btw), I feel stumped at the thought of what I could write about. There are several reasons for this.
1. I am always thoroughly guilty about my lack of perseverance and feel the need to write something very nice which will make my page stats go berserk.
2. I also try to comment and read up on what others I have follow have been writing about and I feel tempted to write about a whole bunch of ideas.
3.Invariably the last post I have written promises an upcoming awesome insightful post and often I have forgotten what the hell that was about. BUT! This time I remember. Its coming right up my lovelies.
4. Its usually filled with profuse apologies about my absence which could happen again very soon.
Nevertheless, we shall remain forever hopeful and go right ahead, writing our souls out to the world, yet cupping our hands around this very soul to never sell it to this duniya (TERMINOLOGY: Duniya= world , language: Hindi)
On this note, before the promised insight, here is another insight on this duniya by a wonderful poet and lyricist, the late Sahir Ludhianvi. But I like this version by Piyush Mishra from the movie Gulaal , much more.
If you’ve read the ‘I believe’ column on the left-side bar of my blog page, you would know that I love the Beatles. I am even listening to them right now because this post is remotely about them. If you don’t like the Beatles, I suggest you still stick around and read this post or another one like this or this one on Walter Kitty’s diary.
Ha! Now that I am done with the day’s bit of good deed and self-promotion, I shall get to the point.
So over the last two days I read The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. You might say that I am reading it too late but I admit that I was a lousy English literature student. For those of you who haven’t read it, here is a short synopsis. The book is about Holden Caulfield, a 16 year old boy who is deeply disturbed by the phoniness he perceives in people around him. He is wary of almost everyone and is afraid to accept change. The book is Holden’s own narrative in the form of a cynical chatter coupled with wry humour, that reminded me much of Woody Allen’s films. Perhaps it had something to do with the 1950’s New York slang, but the nervous tone and tangential streams that Holden’s mind goes in, are reminiscent of Woody Allen’s character in Annie Hall. Holden talks about the time when he gets kicked out of his third Prep school and the ensuing weekend in New York. This is a bildungsroman novel (a “coming-of-age” novel), and the reader engages with this adolescent boy’s personality and emotions through his thoughts and actions.
With the themes and motifs in The Catcher in the Rye, one understands that Holden perceives adulthood to be a world full of phonies and admires the innocence in his little sister Phoebe. He says that the best job for him to protect children from falling off the cliff while they are running around and playing in a rye field. He would be the catcher in the rye. The fall over the cliff is, for Holden, the plunge into adulthood, that he himself is unable to grapple with. He can’t fathom emotional and physical relationships, despises all kinds of pretense (though readers and even Holden realize that he himself is phony in some ways), is quite fickle-minded, unable to find a path and doesn’t even see any point in “finding a path” for the sake of a phony moronic herd of sheep called society. (Phony was among the top used words in the book. Don’t blame me bro.)
I suppose that for the inner-conflict that Salinger explores, a lot of readers might be able to relate to Holden’s character in The Catcher in the Rye. Written in 1951, this character is often called the original ‘angry young man’ and resonates a tension that bumps off into the reader too. The compulsion to categorize people’s personalities as either black or white , does not allow Holden to perceive people as just being different hues of grey.
However, for me, this very attribute of perceiving everything as a shade of grey, disallows me from having any definite unshakable belief in anything. My mind is my own devil’s advocate. My facebook political view says that I have a ‘socialist heart with a capitalist brain’. Do you see? It’s not as if I am sitter-on-the-fence all the time, but I do believe that everything must be analyzed on a case to case basis.
So if a guy like Holden who is a black-and-white sorta guy, can’t hold it together and neither can a grey-vision girl like me, then what the hell is going to work?! Oh darn, this book must have gotten me really depressed. Depressed, that was another favourite word in the book.
Hey but I was telling about the Beatles and this book , right? Thing is, Old John Lennon, was assassinated by one Mark David Chapman in 1980. Lennon was shot dead outside the building he was staying at. After shooting him, Chapman hung around waiting for the police to arrive. While waiting, he read a book. He had signed it from Holden Caulfield and wrote ‘This is my statement’. He carried this book to his court trials and also quoted from this for testimony. The book was The Catcher in the Rye. Chapman repeatedly said that this book triggered and inspired him to kill John Lennon. One explanation (also the most likely)is that Chapman thought that if Lennon talked about love and peace, then how could he have millions. He thought Lennon to be a big time phony guy and decided that he had to die. In a later interview, Chapman said that he killed Lennon “to acquire his fame”. Lennon was a grey man, and Chapman couldn’t take that. So another music died.
The Catcher in the Rye has often been called a hate manifesto because of a few other assassins also fancying the book along with having a flair to kill famous people. But meh, I don’t think it was that at all. The ambiguous ending in the book allows the disenchanted whites, blacks and greys of the world to just suck it up and go ahead any way. I liked some of the images he Salinger shines into our mind. It just made me glad that the book hasn’t been made into a movie yet. You know, sometimes you don’t want your imagination of something to be spoilt with a movie image.
Lastly, but NOT the least, I also learnt from the book about what fishes and ducks do when the lakes and ponds freeze during winter. Holden is always pondering over this in the book. The book doesn’t give the answer. But I ‘googled’ it. oh yea!
I came across this poem and felt that I could relate to it considering my situation with KB right now. .most of it atleast. It has been this way for long.
I have dreamed of you so much that my arms, grown used to being crossed on my
chest as I hugged your shadow, would perhaps not bend to the shape of your body.
For faced with the real form of what has haunted me and governed me for so many
days and years, I would surely become a shadow.
O scales of feeling.
I have dreamed of you so much that surely there is no more time for me to wake up.
I sleep on my feet prey to all the forms of life and love, and you, the only one who
counts for me today, I can no more touch your face and lips than touch the lips and
face of some passerby.
I have dreamed of you so much, have walked so much, talked so much, slept so much
with your phantom, that perhaps the only thing left for me is to become a phantom
among phantoms, a shadow a hundred times more shadow than the shadow the
moves and goes on moving, brightly, over the sundial of your life.
The english department of my college recently released its annual magazine, Ithaka.
The name of the magazine is taken from a wonderful poem by C.P. Cavafy called Ithaka. The poem is truly inspirational and reveals what the real stuff of life is. Just thought everyone should benifit so here it is. 🙂
As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
angry Poseidon-don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
wild Poseidon-you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
—by Constantine P Cavafy